Disaggregating remoteness as a school-level predictor of NAPLAN achievement

Year: 2017

Author: Roberts, Philip, Their, Micael

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Abstract:
Disaggregating remoteness as a school-level predictor of NAPLAN achievement

In this paper, we explore the association between remoteness and NAPLAN scores.
Diverging from previous studies that have examined overall disadvantage, we model for the effect of remoteness above and beyond the contribution of several other variables that have also been linked to disadvantage. The paper explores two related questions. First, to what extent do two coding schemata-the 2006 Australian Remoteness Structure or its 2011 successor, Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) - correlate in their
inclusion of schools into various geographic locale categories?. Second, to what
extent do those coding schemata differ as approaches to modeling
school-aggregated means of reading and numeracy NAPLAN scores?

To address these exploratory questions, we examined 2011 academic year NAPLAN data in reading and numeracy from all New South Wales schools with grade spans that included Year 3 (N = 2,414). We incorporated nine school-level variables, including two criteria (i.e., reading and numeracy scores) and seven variables that facilitated between-school comparisons. Our predictor, geographic locale, was categorical, as was
sector, one of six covariates we used in our models to address Research
Question 2. We also included five continuous covariates: enrolment, attendance rate,
full-time equivalent of working adults (FTE), proportion of students who
were indigenous (indigenous%), and proportion of students who were from language
backgrounds other than English (LBOTE%).

This study revealed that in Model 1 (2006 schema): BOTH literacy AND numeracy scores associate significantly and negatively with the Provisional designation, significantly and positively with the remote designation, but not significantly with the very remote designation. In Model 2 (2011 schema): BOTH literacy AND numeracy scores associate significantly and negatively with the Inner Regional designation ONLY. Outer Regional associates with negative literacy scores, but only trends toward negative
significance for numeracy scores. Meanwhile, literacy scores trend toward positive
significance for literacy for Remote and Very Remote designations. By contrast, numeracy scores associate strongly and positively with Remote and Very Remote designations. We conclude the paper with implications for how policymakers and/or researchers define geographic locale using one schema or another.

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